The only winning strategy is if the FBI does investigate, and if there is an actual penalty. Nothing less will impact the long term behavior of AT&T or any other cell company.
Seriously, it is game theory. They are saying "we will stop" because of the presence of the threat. If the threat goes away, then they are going to keep making money/selling you until the threat comes back. Like the boy crying wolf, the villagers (fbi) takes longer to build momentum for the second event than for the first.
The organization is the least common denominator, so its moral capacity is the worst of a 5 year old child. Like raising/disciplining a child, the only way to change their negative behavior is to add an expected penalty to the behavior that is larger than the expected gain, so the risk-reward evaluation they make says "don't do it".
My limited experience with legal issues at large companies is that once a precedent has been set for legally risky behavior, the organization becomes extremely averse to approaching that behavior again (due to optics, legal complications, etc.). AT&T doesn't strike me as a company that cares all that much about the optics from citizen customers (as opposed to business customers), but being found to be a serial violator, i would hope, would have larger consequence.
If your company might get fined and lose 5% of their global gross revenue for being a repeat offender, that’s likely to be a much stronger incentive.
Especially if those fines double in percentage for every repetition of the infraction.
Or that of ... any other kind of company.
Just substitute in company name and alleged misbehavior and repeat over and over.
Take VW's emsissions test cheating. They broke the law, blatantly, intentionally, for 6 years that we know of, with substantial financial and competitive gains.
In Europe (most consequences were in the US), this is even more aggregious, imo. European emissions standards, vehicle taxation and such are often designed to give locals (esp VW) an advantage in the market. VW wrote a lot of the rules they broke themselves, practically.
Anyway... Back to the moderate "jobs and harmony" politician. Handing out a genuinely sufficient (enough so that crime doesn't pay, even if you only get caught every 2nd time) penalty would endanger the solvency of the (limited liability) company. That's not good for jobs.
Genuinely pursuing criminal charges against execs is something every major company, bank and such cries "disaster" over.
It's kind of a "too big to fail" problem. Does Germany/EU care more about fairness and rule of law or about the success of the biggest German company?
So this actually happens, and I agree that execs should be personally liable for damage that is done to others/the environment as result of their decisions.
Punishing companies and shareholders has too much collateral damage to innocent employees and shareholders. We should focus on criminal punishment of executives via jailtime, not via fines.
But this time they mean it.
In response to them claiming there's legitimate uses.. there's really not. If someone needs roadside assistance you can ask if they can get your location or require the caller to have a carrier app installed that requests location data.
I fully expect them all to stop selling location data next year, too.
The CCPA explicitly prohibits the re-sale of personal data, so it will at least impact the demand from data resellers of the location data in question, for example -- in theory, anyway.
It also gives consumers the right to request their personal data be deleted. It's, however, unclear how this would impact location data telcos are selling.
As other states begin to consider their own legislation, many are pushing for federal legislation that supersedes state laws, for obvious reasons. That will be worth keeping an eye on.
As actual 5G multiple-in multiple-out antenna beamforming arrays and micro/nano/etc cells become more common the location data will be much more fine grained as well.
The problem here is not the commercial providers selling it to 3rd parties. The problem is them storing it for year and years. If it's there it will be used.
If people loves their adds so much, just let them opt-in.
It should almost bring the server down from people pressing the "give me adds" button if you are to believe how much people wants this :)
It may well be worth applying far stronger anti-trust to all of those, but I still think it's a mistake to lump together some companies that are merely big and have network effects with a company that has both government granted and natural monopolies on limited physical infrastructure. Given the massive backlash in just the last year against Facebook, and competitors growing vs Alphabet, it is at least arguable that it's too early for drastic steps before seeing what happens. There have been other big tech players that nevertheless got displaced over a decade or two (Xerox, IBM say). And even if they do need remedies, those may well be different remedies then what would be appropriate for Verizon (GDPR-style for example, transparency and control for people over data). There is in fact only so much available usable EM spectrum, or rights of way for cables. It's a different class of problem with different solutions and tradeoffs.
I just worry that if you lump too disparate things together it'll become an easy defense for the worst of them, and we'll end up with a situation where the likes of Verizon or Comcast or AT&T or whomever refer to themselves as part of the "Google/Facebook" group and then point to Bing and claim anti-trust is overblown. Also, reducing the most end point monopolies could have ripple effects up the stack, if everyone had content neutral symmetric WAN links closer to LAN speeds again it could significant aid decentralization, at least for the initial growth stages.
Aside from political influence, any company that's too big to fail is probably just too big.
Taking just Google Analytics as an example. A quick search  indicated that, as of 2015, around 6,950 of the top 10,000 sites by traffic use it, with 546,000 of the top million using it. I'd expect those numbers have only increased. And their analytics service is just one branch of their extremely long reach outside of their search engine. You can get away from Google search, but getting away from Google is an entirely different issue.
While both do create a degree of separation between your device and Google's servers, it still underscores your point of getting away from Google entirely being far more difficult than just avoiding Search.
But you can do one thing. Randomly click an ad and destroy their prescious data and metrics. while reading an article that has thirty fucking ads, I'll click one or two. it has gotten interesting what pops up now. The ads sucked before.
Ad tech has not improved in 20+ years. It's delusional of sv to think it has. There is nearly a generation of people working on it, and the end result is low quality ads as if it was 1999.
Librarians have shared ethical standards, and concern for people other than themselves. Engineers don't. The closest they get are safety standards.
So things that overlap with what librarians do have had constant pushback on privacy protection issues.
I think at least this needs to say "the engineering profession" or whatever (as opposed to just "engineers"). While engineer's disease is very real, saying that engineers don't have concern for others seems an overreach.
MVNOs can't really provide any protection. Google is "demanding" that their tier-one carriers don't sell their MVNO customers' data, but just by throwing their weight around. i doubt they'll continue after this blows over, and other MVNOs don't have that kind of weight.
which means every single mobile customer in the US has to choose the least shady infrastructure owner -- between ATT, Sprint, TMobile, or Verizon. those are literally the only four options in terms of which company you want to trust with a never-ending stream of your personal location data. and if you use an MVNO, chances are good that _more than one_ of these companies has access to your data.
The moment the heat is off, they'll go back to doing it.
The only way to stop it is with legislation.
> You should seriously consider [not carrying a cell phone] once more.
> These carriers will use the narrowest possible interpretation of their statements. Historical
> location data appears to be fair game, and perhaps they'll just launch their own competing
> service so they aren't providing anything to a third party. These carriers all constantly
> record your location data and see it as another potential source of revenue. The law (in the
> US) does not prevent them from trading it, sharing it, selling it, targeting advertising
> using it, etc.
> They got caught with their hands in the cookie jar this time and are pretending to be really
> sorry about it so that the law stays that way, and they can go back to stealing cookies once
> this all dies down a bit. Don't for a second think that this means your location data will
> not be used against you in order for the carrier to make a quick buck.
Depends on circumstance but I can survive just fine without one in many cities. At home I have the wifi from so many restaurants/bars that even on the move I usually get a connection.
That should prevent carriers from being told/trivially discovering your phone number, but your cell radio might still broadcast with your IMEI, which is at least as uniquely identifying.
The best is not to have a cellular radio, or to disable physically your phone's radio (e.g. as the Librem 5 will be designed to do). If that's too difficult or involved, soft disable the radio ('airplane mode'). That, however, requires you to trust the software really does keep the radio off.
You'd assume airplane mode should completely disable it simply for airline regulation reasons, but can't say for certain, and some manufacturers perhaps dont care. Xaiomi and Huawei come to mind.
There are actual data brokers in the advertising industry. Seedy companies who with a tracking pixel ( or just outright data dumps ) can give you actual PII data. Facebook ( and to and extend google, althought an insane amount of malware goes thru google ads,I’m sure you’ve gotten the “you’ve won redirects”), have been putting those companies out of business.
Both Facebook and google have a ton of flaws. Facebook has been super naive on some areas. But Most of the reporting on their “data issues”, have not remotely offered a real view of the industry, or what actually happened.
It was the other way around! You were able to use Acxiom/etc data to target people on Facebook
Selling the ability to target different demographics of people with different deceptive and divisive messages to foreign government agents is also bad.
We can recognize both of these things, and perhaps even find a common root cause.
The other is literally how all advertising has ever worked! ( yes, cable TV was targeting you ). Yes, placing an ad in a certain location is also targeting. It's not inherently bad, it can be abused though.
The implied "please oh save us facebook", is well, WTH. Should we stop all political advertisement? should we prevent outside money in local elections? should we prevent foreigners from advertising in a different country? These are all great questions. But no one has ever had the right answers.
We're crucifying a company because they amplified society. We are asking them to solve societies evils. We are not focusing on the actual evil itself. ( sorry for the rant, but you went on one too :-P )
And yes, non-transparent targeting of opposite fact claims to different voting blocks is quite different from "put a TV spot on Conan because the young people like him", not least because anybody could see the spot on Conan, and because TV advertising is regulated.
Wifi probe request tracking is by far the biggest invasion of privacy IMO (it works even when you're not connected) yet hardly anyone talks about it.
The fact of the matter is that there's a huge market for harvested data, and corporate parasites of all kinds have slithered out of the woodwork to compete for the largest, most intimately-detailed sets of information, and none of it is consentual (in the sense that, if people were actually privy to the scale of this nightmare, no one would agree to it).